Otumoetai College

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Otumoetai College
Windsor Road
New Zealand
Coordinates 37°40′47″S 176°07′46″E / 37.6797°S 176.1295°E / -37.6797; 176.1295Coordinates: 37°40′47″S 176°07′46″E / 37.6797°S 176.1295°E / -37.6797; 176.1295
Funding type State
Established 1965[1]
Ministry of Education Institution no. 120
Principal Russell Gordon[2]
Years offered 9–13
Gender Coeducational
School roll 1942[3] (August 2018)
Socio-economic decile 7O[4]

Otumoetai College is a state coeducational secondary school located in Tauranga, New Zealand. The school opened in February 1965 with 206 students from years 9 to 13 (ages 12 to 18) to serve the western suburbs of Tauranga. Otumoetai is claimed to stand for “peaceful waters” implied by the peaceful surroundings and estuary within the Otumoetai area.[5]

As of August 2018, Otumoetai College has a roll of 1942 students, making it the largest school in the Bay of Plenty Region.[3]


The history of the land that Otumoetai College resides on goes back many years to the turn of the 20th century, where the land was farmed by a young Englishman named Mr Tollemache.[6]

Otumoetai College opened in February 1965. Like many New Zealand secondary schools of the era, the school was designed and constructed to the Nelson 2H standard plan. The Nelson 2H is distinguished by its two-storey H-shaped classroom blocks, with stairwells at each end of the block and a large ground floor toilet and cloak area on one side.[7] The school has three of these blocks – D, F and G blocks. G block (originally D block), was completed ready for the school opening in 1965; F block was completed in two stages in 1967 and 1968; and D block (originally G block) was completed in two stages in 1969 and 1973. In the early 2000s, the school modified the blocks from their original design by converting the toilet and cloak areas into additional classrooms, and moving the stairs outside the buildings and converting the original stairwells into storage.[8]

From that day on Otumoetai College has undergone many changes in appearance, including the “opening of the swimming pool complex, which was a joint venture with the Tauranga City Council” in 1968[9] as well as the long-awaited completion of the library block in September 1968. 1977 was seen as a stressful year for Otumoetai College and especially Harold Webber who was apprehensive about the growing number of students at Otumoetai and the fact that the number of temporary on-site classrooms had risen to a deplorable twelve.[6]

Like numerous other schools around New Zealand 2002 was a big year in the way of changes to the educational standards. NCEA or National Certificate in Educational Achievement replaced School Certificate which led to a major disturbance with students, teachers and the unfamiliarity of the new concepts.

Today, Otumoetai College can be seen to prosper from the changes it has had in the past to become one of the top leading schools within New Zealand.[citation needed]

Otumoetai College motto

The Otumoetai school motto is detailed within the school emblem which can be found not only on the uniform but within numerous places around the school. "It was designed by Mr F Graham and embodies three concepts."[5] The aphorism ‘Doctrina Vitam Illuminet’ means ‘let learning enlighten life’ and symbolises the idea that education is not only a process of gaining qualifications and going through your paces day by day in the effort to gain a job or career but “one which should bring us wisdom and so improve the quality of our lives and of the world in which we live”.[5] The emblem entails three concepts or symbols; the torch with its red flame, the star beneath the torch and the silver waves on the dark blue background, each symbolising and holding its own meaning.

"The silver torch with its red flame standing on a forest green background, depicts the light of learning to be kept burning and handed on from generation to generation. The star beneath the torch is the heraldic recognition of Otumoetai as the third college in the community, and the silver waves on the dark blue background represent the quiet waters of the estuary near the college."[5]


At the August 2013 Education Review Office (ERO) review, Otumoetai College had 1924 students enrolled, including 71 international students. Forty-five percent of students were male and 55 percent were female. Sixty-three percent of students identified as New Zealand European (Pākehā), three percent as another European ethnicity, 20 percent as Māori, six percent as Pacific Islanders, four percent as Asian, and four percent as another ethnicity.[10]

Otumoetai College has a socio-economic decile of 7 (step O), meaning it draws its school community from areas of moderate to moderately-low socioeconomic disadvantage when compared to other New Zealand schools. This changed from decile 8 (step P) at the beginning of 2015, as part of the nationwide review of deciles following the 2013 census.[4]


Harold Webber was the first Principal appointed at Otumoetai College in 1964. At that stage Otumoetai College was merely a piece of land waiting to become a complete collection of buildings and educational blocks, for the first roll of students arriving and starting in 1965. Previously Webber had been Principal at Paeroa College.[11] Harold Webber remained principal at Otumoetai College from 1964 until 1970.

The second principal was Alastair Murray, who took up the position in 1971. Similar to Harold Webber, Murray had had numerous years experience as not only a Deputy Principal in a city school but also the Principal of the Bay of Islands College[12] Alastair Murray carried on the role of principal for twelve years, finally leaving in 1983.

In June 1983, Peter Malcom was elected as the third principal of Otumoetai College. Peter Malcom, like the other two past principals, came from a strong experienced background within schools. Originally from Ashburton College, he was considered a great mathematician.[citation needed] He brought numerous changes and great things to Otumoetai College and retired in July 2000.[13]

In June 2000, Dave Randell was elected as the fourth principal of Otumoetai College. Previously, he had been Principal at Taihape College in 1988 as well Melville High School in Hamilton from 1995.[6]

In late 2017 Dave Randell announced his retirement. In 2018 he was followed by Russell Gordon who had been principal at Mount Maungani College.

Otumoetai musical and drama productions

Over the past 45 years Otumoetai College has taken great pride in presenting numerous musical and drama productions to the Tauranga community. Over the years thousands of students and teachers have dedicated many hours and been heavily involved in frequent productions staged by the school. “The first concert took place in the college hall on the evening of 18 August 1965 under the direction of Mrs Bartlett”[14] From that date on the school has flourished and expanded their growing ideas and passions for dance, drama and performing, leading to numerous presentations for the community at Bay Court, the local performance centre in Tauranga.

Musical productions

  • 2018 Annie
  • 2016 Hairspray
  • 2014 Guys and dolls
  • 2012 Alice in Wonderland
  • 2011 Footloose
  • 2009 Jekyll and Hyde
  • 2008 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • 2007 High School Musical
  • 2005 Fame
  • 2004 Return to the Forbidden Planet
  • 2002 My Fair Lady
  • 2001 Blood Brothers
  • 2000 The Buddy Holly Story
  • 1999 The Sound of Music
  • 1996 Grease
  • 1994 Chess
  • 1993 Fiddler on the Roof
  • 1992 Oliver[15]

Drama productions

  • 2018 Annie
  • 2016 Hairspray
  • 2014 Guys and Dolls
  • 2012 Footloose
  • 2010 The Golden Pathway Annual / Daisy's Disastrous Daydreams
  • 2008 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory / Our Day Out
  • 2006 Stepping Out
  • 2002 An Evening with Molière
  • 2001 Cosi
  • 1999 The Diary of Anne Frank
  • 1994 The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole
  • 1993 Teachers
  • 1992 Whose Life is it Anyway?[16]
  • 1984 A Midsummer Night's Dream

Sports catered for by the school

Athletics, In-line Hockey, Rowing, Swimming, Table tennis, Tennis, Rugby, Touch Rugby, Triathlon, Volleyball – Indoor, Volleyball – Beach, Water Polo, White-water Kayaking, Yachting, Surfing, Squash, Softball, Soccer, Snowboarding, Skiing, Skateboarding, Rugby Union, Rock Climbing, Netball, Motocross, Lawn Bowls, Karting, Indoor Bowls, Underwater Hockey, Hockey – Field, Gymnastics, Golf, Equestrian, Cross Country, Cycling, Cricket, Canoe Polo, Basketball and Badminton.

Notable alumni


  1. ^ "Otumoetai College 40th Reunion". Education Gazette New Zealand. 83 (8). 10 May 2004. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  2. ^ "Senior Leadership Team". Otumoetai College. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Directory of Schools - as at 13 September 2018". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Decile Change 2014 to 2015 for State & State Integrated Schools". Ministry of Education. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d Farthing 2005, p. 1.
  6. ^ a b c Farthing 2005, p. ?.
  7. ^ "Catalogue of Standard School Building Types" (PDF). Christchurch: Ministry of Education. August 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  8. ^ Farthing 2005, pp. 25-33.
  9. ^ Farthing 2005, p. 26.
  10. ^ "Otumoetai College Education Review". Education Review Office. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  11. ^ Farthing 2005, p. 5.
  12. ^ Farthing 2005, p. 9.
  13. ^ Farthing 2005, p. 17.
  14. ^ Farthing 2005, p. 44.
  15. ^ Farthing 2005, p. 49.
  16. ^ Farthing 2005, p. 50.
  17. ^ "Gary Braid". stats.allblacks.com. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  18. ^ Dunham, David (28 December 2006). "TOP STORY: Moss is our pick for 2006". Bay of Plenty Times. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  19. ^ Lang, Martin (17 September 2008). "Tauranga teen faces testing debut". Bay of Plenty Times. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
  20. ^ a b Farthing 2005, p. 60.
  21. ^ Exelby, Kelly (17 December 2005). "Star seeks Major turnaround". Bay of Plenty Times. Tauranga. Retrieved 20 April 2016 – via The New Zealand Herald.
  22. ^ White, Peter (27 October 2014). "Boult eager to stamp his mark on the game". Bay of Plenty Times. Retrieved 13 April 2015.


  • Farthing, Bruce (2005). Life Enlightened by Learning -- Otumoetai College; The First 40 Years. New Zealand: Otumoetai College Board of Trustees. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  • Otumoetai College. (2008A). Our School. Retrieved 20 March 2008, from http://www.otumoetaicollege.co.nz/our-school.html
  • Otumoetai College. (2008B). Otumoetai College Prospectus 2008. Otumoetai College Board of Trustees: New Zealand.
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